Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

Self-Empowerment: Cape (1891)

Posted by tahirfarrath on March 1, 2010

(History of Muslims in South Africa)

1891 – Cape Muslim population census

The 1891 census reported:

* 15 099 Muslims [13 907 `Malay’] in the Colony,

* 11 287 Muslims in Cape Town.

1892 – Establishment of Quwatul Islam Masjid

The Quwatul Islam Masjid in Loop Street, Cape Town, was the first masjid to be established by “Indian” Muslims of Hanafi madhhab and was the ninth masjid to be built in the Mother City. The property was acquired by a trust on March 14, 1892; the trustees being Essop Molvi, Hamid Gool, Abdulla Hoosen, Abdul Cader, Adam Hadjie Goolmohamed,. Mohamed Ebrahim, Zeepoo Moola and Archier Mohamed Pawley. The Quwatul Islam Masjid was initially established to serve the need of the “Indian” Muslims. The new settlers, however, became completely absorbed in the mainstream community of Bo-Kaap. Thus the masjid came to serve the entire Bo-Kaap residency. This masjid isimportant in the history of Cape Muslims as it shows the cohesive power of Islam to draw different cultural groups, even against their wishes, into a common brotherhood.

The first imam of the masjid was Mogamed Talabodien [Muhammad Talab al-Din] from 1892 to 1922. He was a scholar of renown, Islamic law being his speciality. His counsel was greatly appreciated by the Muslim people. He died in 1922 and was succeeded by his son, Achmat Taliepwho stood down in favour of Maulvi Hussein Dinwho came from India in 1932. In 1935 Imam Achmat Taliep became imam again until 1940 whenMaulana Mujiebo Rahman [Mujib a]-Rahman], an Al-Azhar graduate, arrived. The Maulana was a dedicated da’i and authored several books on Islam. He started a monthly publication, Al-Muathin, which was probably the first Islamic newspaper in South Africa. He died in 1956. Imam `Abdul Latief , son of Imam Achmat, succeeded the Maulana and took over the affairs of the masjid until 1971. Sheikh Mogamad [Muhammad] ` Abbas Jassiem was then appointed imam. He served the community until 1985 when he was “unceremoniously dismissed from office for being a suspected Ahmadi sympathiser”. Imam Masoom Ebrahim was appointed as imam in 1989 after the two sons of Imam `Abdul Latief of Habibia Masjid served as jointimams. Today, the Quwatul Islam Masjid stands as a memory of a bygone era. The Group Areas Act, having forced the community to remote areas, left this masjid with few worshippers especially during maghrib, `isha’ and fajr salawat.


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